Bowen, Vincent: Service no. 53998 (Military Medal with Bar)


Digitized Service Record

Source: Guelph Public Library


Military Medal with Bar.

Summary of Service for Sergeant Vincent Bowen (Military Medal and Bar). Reg. No. 53998

Date Event Remarks
September 2, 1892 Born Attestation papers indicate “Strouport”, Worcester, England.
1909 Emigrates to Canada Emigrates to Canada with his family. At some point he claims on his attestation papers to have served 4 years with the 30th Rifles and a further 2 years with the Worcester Territorials.
October 26, 1914 Enlists Enlists at Guelph, Ontario. He lists his trade as a carpet weaver and is single. He notes is prior military service in England and lists his next-of-kin as William Bowen. He assigned to “B” Company.


His reference to his service to the “30th Rifles” is actually the 30th Wellington Regiment.

December 11, 1914 Anti-Typhoid Inoculation
December 16, 1914 Vaccinations
December 23, 1914 Anti-Typhoid Inoculation
May 1915 Assigns Pay Assigns pay to his wife, Hilda Bowen, 38 Duke Street, Guelph of $20.00 per month. There is a
July 6, 1916 Signs Will Private Bowen bequeaths his entire estate to his wife, Hilda Bowen of 38 Duke Street, Guelph, Ontario. The will is witnessed by an Arthur Riley[i] and Captain G.H. Emery.[ii]
April 18, 1915 Leaves Canada Sails from Halifax, Nova Scotia aboard the R.M.S. Grampian.
April 29, 1915 Arrives England Arrives with the 18th Battalion at Avonmouth and is based at Shornecliffe for training.
May 6, 1915 Forfeits 1 Day Pay Absent without leave.
September 14, 1915 Leaves for the Front Battalion leaves for the Continent and arrives in Belgium.
June 11, 1916 Granted Leave Granted 8 days leave.
August 8 – 12, 1916 No. 6 Canadian Field Ambulance Pyrexia of Unknown Origin
August 12 – October 5, 1916 No. 2 Divisional Rest Station Pyrexia of Unknown Origin
October 5 – 8, 1916 No. 4 Canadian Field Ambulance S.W.R. Forefinger
April 27, 1917 No. 13 General Hospital, Boulogne, France Develops trench too and assigned to hospital for treatment.
April 28, 1917 Transports to England Transported to England aboard the H.S. St. Andrew.
April 29 to June 19, 1917 Evington Military Hospital Inflammation of the Connective Tissue, Foot
June 19 – August 29, 1917 Ramsgate Inflammation of the Connective Tissue, Foot
August 29 – September 14, 1917 M.G. No. 4, Epsom. Inflammation of the Connective Tissue, Foot. The condition heals after spending 139 days in hospital.
September 14, 1917 Discharged to Canadian Convalescent Hospital, West Cote Park Posted from Western Ontario Regimental Depot and Stuck of Strength to the 4th Reserve Battalion at Bramshott.
November 25, 1917 2nd Canadian Infantry Base Depot, Etaples France Arrives from 4th Canadian Reserve Battalion to 2nd C.I.B.D.
December 2, 1917 Arrives 18th Battalion In the field. Acheville, France.
January 3, 1918 4th Canadian Field Ambulance to 5th Canadian Field Ambulance Ulcer, left foot.
January 9, 1918 Transferred to 12th Canadian Field Ambulance.
January 23, 1918 No. Canadian Casualty Clearing Station and then transferred to No. 1 Canadian General Hospital. I.C.T. foot, slight.
February 22, 1918 No. 6 Convalescent Depot
February 23, 1918 No. 13 Convalescent Depot
March 6, 1918 2nd Canadian Infantry Base Depot, Etaples France Discharged from No. 13 Convalescent Depot
April 1, 1918 Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp Despatched to C.C.R.C. on way to rejoining Battalion.
April 4, 1918 Rejoined Unit In the field. Rejoins Battalion in Neuville-St.-Vaast Sector. Battalion heavily engaged in patrol work and shelled by Germans.
August 8 and 9, 1918 Promoted In an unusual case Bowen was promoted to Sergeant the day before he was “promoted” to Corporal. The service records show a promotion on August 8 where he was appointed Acting Sergeant with pay as Sgt. W.P. Munnings, reg. no. 767069 was wounded.


Then, on the next day, Bowen is promoted to Corporal as Corporal R. Redhead, reg. no. 53385 is invalided to England.


One explanation is that the Battalion needed an acting Sergeant but in order to promote Bowen they had to promote him to a Corporal so he could then be promoted to an acting sergeant. The dates in the service records reflect two dates when they should reflect that this occurred on one day. The letter dated August 24, 1918 conforming these promotions contained the notification of these promotion in Part II Order, No. 86, 13/9/18.

August 26, 1918 Killed in Action Circumstances of Death records: “Killed in Action” During operations in front of ARRAS, this soldier was hit in the stomach and instantly killed, by an enemy rifle bullet.


The beginning of the Last 100 Days offensive. This day was a very bad day for the Battalion as it records that 30 other ranks where killed in action along with a further 120 o.r.s wounded.

March 13, 1919 Awarded the Military Medal[iii] The London Gazette. Publication date: 21 January 1919. Supplement: 31142. Page 1238.
March 29, 1919 Awarded Bar to Military Medal Per. London Gazette no. 31257
July 27, 1920 War Service Gratuity Issued Received cheque no. G1895813 in the Amount of $100.00 issued to Mrs. Hilda Bowen, widow, residing at 10 Ontario Street, Guelph, Ontario.


[i] Most likely Private Arthur Riley, reg. no. 53962. Usually on this form the soldier includes his regimental number and unit but for some reason Private Riley gives an address in Manchester, from which he was born.

[ii] Note that the will in the service file is a facsimile of the original will, which is not in the file.

[iii] A note on citations. Some early Military Medals came with citations but as the war progressed and the awarding of Military Medals increased this award did not include a citation. The medals that would require citations are the “Victoria Cross (V.C.), the Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.), the Military Cross (M.C.) and the Distinguished Conduct Medal (D.C.M.).”

The London Gazette Publication date: 21 January 1919 Supplement: 31142 Page:1238. The Bar per London Gazette no. 31257.
"Killed in Action" During operations in front of ARRAS, this soldier was hit in the stomach and instantly killed, by an enemy rifle bullet.
“Killed in Action” During operations in front of ARRAS, this soldier was hit in the stomach and instantly killed, by an enemy rifle bullet.

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20 thoughts on “Bowen, Vincent: Service no. 53998 (Military Medal with Bar)

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    1. Bill,

      I will have a look and see if I can find any. May I ask what your connection is to this soldier?


      1. Vincent emigrated from the U.K. and married a woman from Guelph, my home town. A gentleman from Vincent’s hometown in England is seeking information on Vincent as part of his research o the fallen so that they be commemorated on the town’s Cenotaph. I’m trying my best to assist him in Guelph.

      2. Bill,

        Wonderful! I will see if I can find anything and feel free to contact me via the Facebook Group, personal message at FB or by email. ebd.edwards at .


  1. Thanks to you both (in your case, Bill, for the umpteenth time!).
    Eric, I’m the chap from Areley Kings, Worcestershire, U.K., (another Eric) to whom Bill is giving unbelievably generous help. Sgt Bowen was a child here but came to Canada with his family in 1909 as a teenager . He appears on the village Roll of Honour of all who served but on none of the memorials to the fallen. I have just discovered his death from someone else’s work (on those who didn’t die) and am trying to catch up on 18 years’ lost work (the time I’ve been researching my written memorial) and also making arrangements for Vincent’s addition to the village Cross of Remembrance. If I can repay either of you, or anyone else who can help, in any way – with any particular information that comes my way – please let me know.
    The truly surprising thing is that this considerable young hero is as yet lacking a photo and, even more surprisingly, any details of his citations – for not one but two Military Medals. Fingers crossed and thanks again.
    Eric Halsall.

    1. Hello, again, Eric! It’s been a while since we last connected. Nothing more was forthcoming from the 18th BN CEF. Were you able to locate anything further, including a photo?

  2. Hello, again, Eric! It’s been a while since we last connected. Nothing more was forthcoming from the 18th BN CEF. Were you able to locate anything further, including a photo?

      1. Just sent some pics via email, Vincent was my Great Uncle. My grandmother was Eunice Pleasance nee Bowen my Great Aunt was Olive Bowen.

  3. HI, Pat,
    As you already know, I saw your pictures (very faintly) on Eric’s 18th Bn Facebook Page and was hugely excited, having been completely unsuccessful in tracking down any family connection for Vincent, I was of course equally unsuccessful in finding any photos of him and his family; an obituary; or any information about the circumstances of his two Military Medals – which alone define him as having been a considerable hero.
    Since I managed to confirm that he should have appeared on the memorials here in Worcestershire, about three years ago, I have amassed a good deal of information about Vincent, but these omissions have left me feeling that I had only partially succeeded. What I *have* put together has been in large part due to the warmth and generosity of numerous Canadians from Guelph and elsewhere (even including the Office of the Speaker of the House of Commons in Ottawa!) and particularly Bill Granger and Eric Edwards.,
    Eric advised me to contact you directly for help when I saw your pictures, so I hope you received my plea for good, clear copies of any photos you have of Vincent and his family and of any items like the Remembrance Card that Hilda had printed, as well as any details of family connections in Canada (those linking him to you are a fascinating start)..
    If you are happy to let me have any such photos I shall be immensely grateful and I shall use them all in my finished written memorial to Vincent (which I shall be delighted to let you have, assuming you would like a copy) and it would also be wonderful to see them here, at the head of these pages which keep alive the memory of someone who was clearly a very special young man.
    With warmest good wishes,
    Eric Halsall

      1. Hi, Ken/Pat (sorry about the confusion).
        Sorry it’s been so long since I was in touch and I do hope that you and yours have coped well and safely with the Covid-19 crisis. As you probably know from world news, it’s been pretty bad here in the UK. My wife has Alzheimer’s and as we’re both old codgers with an excellent collection of ailments, we’re thoroughly ‘at risk’ and self-isolated.
        Since the last flurry of correspondence here, I have had Vincent’s name added to the village War Memorial here – a century after his death. If you recall, Areley Kings evidently knew he was on active service but never found out about his death – until I came on the scene!
        I tried to clarify the photo you posted (connected to one of Hilda’s ‘in memoriam’ card) and have tried to attach the results here but can’t find a way to do so. I also did post requests to you for further photos and family information but, if you saw them, I didn’t get your response.
        I am continuing to research your ‘hero’ great-uncle and would love to establish closer and more detailed contact with you and the rest of Vincent’s family. My email address is
        Meanwhile, stay safe and warmest good wishes,
        Eric (Halsall)

      2. Hello, Eric! It’s been a long while since our last “chat”! Congrats on the great progress you’ve made to learn more about Vincent and to finally have his name addd to his hometown’s mwar Memorial. IDoes Vincent’s family still have ties to Guelph? Thx and best wishes for continued success!

  4. Hi, Billy,
    Thanks for that. I’m still working on Vincent, in the later stages of the ‘final’ write-up (although, as with all the lads in my written memorial to the war dead of my village, interesting stuff keeps cropping up, so who knows what’s final!).
    As you’ll have seen from the comments in this thread, I thought I’d finally found a member or members of Vincent’s family (variously signed as ‘Ken’ [Donaldson] and ‘Pat’) who are interested in and related to Vincent. They, or one of them, also have family photos and memorabilia.
    They appear to have tried to post stuff here but nothing has shown, and my long-winded emails haven’t managed to elicit a reply, even though I’ve posted my email address. Which is all hugely bewildering and frustrating; I’ve no idea why I can’t manage to get through.
    I believe that the people mentioned are still in Ontario, perhaps not in Guelph, and that one of them is the great-nephew of Vincent and the grandson and great-nephew of the sisters of Vincent’s wife, Hilda.
    Sorry if that’s confusing – it’s confusing to me too as I can’t get to communicate directly with Ken/Pat to sort it out and get their help in filling in Vincent’s family background at a more personal level.
    The other (far more significant!) Eric and Bill Granger have both been fantastically helpful but they too have failed to get through to the Bowen relatives.
    Perhaps one day – I live in hope!
    Warmest good wishes,
    Eric H.

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